Martin Lehmer

Transnational Student Collaboration


Shigeyuki Myagawa & Martin Lehmer at achtzehnkommazwei – Raum für Kunst



Shigeyuki Myagawa

I remember the feeling and the excited tingle when I received Martin’s email asking me if I would like to work with him as a partner in this project.

I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was worried whether I would be able to finish the work in time for the planned deadline – a worry that later proved to be unfounded. On the other hand, I felt it was an honour that Martin, who had always presented excellent work during our joint training period, had chosen me as his partner. And finally, the premonition that something interesting would happen.

After Martin explained his concept to me in more detail and I understood the general line of the project, I immediately found it even more interesting. What would happen if you let each other's similarities and differences collide? It made me think of two atomic nuclei colliding with each other to discover a new elementary particle.

What Martin and I have in common is that we both work in a three-dimensional modelling format and mainly use wood as a material. Also, the allure of the human body holds a great fascination for both of us.

As far as cultural differences are concerned, I have often experienced that the less aware we are of them, the more mysterious they become.

At the idea of our joint work being exhibited with other artists' creations in the same room, I feel that excited tingle again. But this time for different reasons.


Martin Lehmer

Orient and Occident?

In this project we aimed to work together with a partner from a different cultural area and to define an artistic field for this interaction, based on which one can read off similarities, but also differences in thinking about and producing art.

With whom could I work? Deterred by the thought of a time marked by a pandemic, in which a large part of communication had already shifted to the digital level, it seemed important to me not to exchange ideas over a long distance, but rather to find a partner with whom meetings and cooperation could take place face to face.

I met Shige Myagawa from Japan a few years ago at the vocational training center for sculpting in Munich. I attended the master school, he the vocational school for wood sculptors. This has laid the basis for a common interest in sculpture. Shige was born in Japan and came to Germany with his wife and two children to train as a wood sculptor. In the context of the project, I found it exciting to exchange ideas with Shige about the different and/or similar perspectives we look at our work. The fact that we both have lived in the same city for years and have also received the same training in some areas is by no means a hindrance in relation to the question of the project. On the contrary, it is precisely because of the commonalities, I find looking at difference exciting. Perhaps you can better understand one through the other.

When asked if he would take part in the project with me, Shige accepted after a short hesitation. We met on the steps in front of the Academy of Fine Arts or at the Nymphenburg Canal, showed us photos of the current status of the respective work and reported to each other about everyday life at the studio and at work. Over time, both sides had an idea of how they could jointly take part in the planned exhibition. Above all, it was important to use and expand already existing commonalities and not to look compulsively for a common topic. From these considerations, it has been clear that we both deal extensively with the human figure and the material wood. Further meetings followed, now also in Shige's studio. We examined each other's work. With regard to the project exhibition, we decided to react to each other’s sculptures through our individual formal and expressive languages. New sculptures emerged, existing ones complemented each other, were rearranged or juxtaposed with others.